The Vault: O.J. Simpson white Bronco chase stuns nation on June 17, 1994

On June 17, 1994, former NFL player O.J. Simpson hopped into a white Ford Bronco and became a fugitive of the law, leading to the infamous police chase on the Los Angeles freeways that riveted a nation stunned by the star's downfall.

Earlier in the day, Simpson was charged with the brutal murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Instead of turning himself in to police custody, the legendary football player got into his friend Al Cowlings' car and refused to surrender.

Millions had settled in front of their television screen to watch the New York Knicks take on the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals. However, midway through the game, they were shocked to see breaking news that Simpson was being pursued by more than a dozen police cars and television helicopters.

Cowlings called 911 as he drove the getaway car and claimed that Simpson was armed with a gun pointed to his own head. He said that he demanded Cowlings drive him to his estate in Brentwood or he would kill himself.

This led to a bizarre slow-speed chase that finally ended at Simpson's home, where the police waited for almost an hour before both men gave themselves up and were arrested.

"If you've been watching television over the past couple of hours, you've been watching the search for O.J. Simpson," Eyewitness News anchor Bill Beutel said, during the delayed newscast in the early moments of June 18. "And that search ended tonight under the eye of the camera outside his own front door in Brentwood...surrounded by police, helicopters and reporters."

At Madison Square Garden, many fans were left in shock that night.

"I hope he didn't do it, the guy was a legend," said Paul Candrelli told Eyewitness News. "I've watched him for years and years and thought he was a great player."

The chase was the latest chapter in a saga that ended on Oct. 3, 1995, with Simpson acquitted on all charges, though Simpson and the infamous case have never left the headlines.
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